Warmer weather often means that we spend more time outside with our dogs. Proper grooming will help your dog feel cool and comfortable. Grooming also enhances the relationship you have with your pet. Grooming is also a way to express affection and bond with your pet. Even if you visit a professional groomer, you should groom your pet in-between visits.
Brushing Your Dog
There are several benefits to brushing your dog regularly, including reduced shedding and a cleaner coat. But you may not be aware regular brushing keeps your dog cool. It also gives you an opportunity to spot any irregularities in the skin. Look out for infections, allergies, fleas, and ticks. Regular brushing can remove and prevent mats that can keep your dog from being able to cool off and can contribute to infection. Brushing also improves skin circulation and skin health.
Teach your dog to enjoy grooming. Try brushing your dog in all positions — sitting, standing, and lying down — to get him used to brushing. If he has sensitive spots, offer a treat while your brush to make the experience positive and to distract him from your brushing. If you plan to have your dog groomed or clipped, get him used to the sound by using a child’s vibrating toothbrush to get him used to the noise and vibration, especially around sensitive ears and feet.
Bathing Your Dog
When it comes to washing your pup, there are some important pointers to follow to make bath time a safe and positive experience.
Brush your dog and remove any mats from the coat first.
Be careful not to get soap or water in your dog’s eyes, ears, and mouth. Use a damp cloth to wash your dog’s face, and use a cup or handheld sprayer to rinse so that you can direct the water.
The most important part of bathing is rinsing. Shampoos and other products on your dog’s skin can cause reactions that range from mild itching to severe irritation.
Use shampoo made for dogs and use cool or lukewarm water, never hot. Human shampoo tends to dry the dog’s skin and make the coat fragile.
Unless directed by your veterinarian, do not bathe more than every three weeks to prevent dry, itchy skin and irritation. You can use a damp towel, baby wipes, or dry shampoo wipes to clean your dog in between baths.
Cutting Your Dog’s Hair
For dogs with coats that mat easily or double-coated breeds with longer hair, you may want to consider a summer haircut to help your dog stay clean and cool in the warmer weather.
The nature of your dog’s coat is to insulate, which can be a problem in the summer months when dogs need to cool off more quickly. That insulating layer can help prevent heat stroke, however, so don’t shave the skin – this could also contribute to sunburn. Without the insulating layer, dogs are susceptible to heat stroke, so don’t shave your dog down to the skin. Besides taking away that insulation, you are making him more susceptible to sunburn.
This article originally appeared on the AKC website.